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3D printing using stem cells? Israeli company runs successful lab tests

Nano Dimension, an Israeli company that is a leader in 3D-printed electronics, announced this week that it has run a series of successful lab tests on a new 3D bioprinter capable of using stem cells. Conducted in partnership with the Israeli stem cell research company Accellta, Nano Dimension’s recent experiment represents a dramatic shift from its typical focus on electronics such as circuit boards and nanotechnology-based inks. Prior work notwithstanding, Nano’s recent innovation is wildly groundbreaking, however outside its wheelhouse it actually is.

In light of their collaborative effort, Nano Dimension and Accellta may potentially start a new venture devoted entirely to further research on 3D printing using stem cells. Accellta would bring its incredibly deep well of stem cell research — including a suspension-based cell culturing system that produces billions of stem cells — while Nano Dimension would, obviously, contribute its cutting-edge 3D printing technology. The partnership would allow for what would likely be a significant step forward in the ongoing study of bioprinting human organs and tissue.

Nano1
Nano Dimensions

“3D printing of living cells is a technology that is already playing a significant role in medical research, but in order for it to reach its full potential, for the field to evolve further, there is a need to improve printing speeds, print resolution, cell control, and viability as well as cell availability and bio-ink technologies,” said Nano Dimension’s CEO Amit Dror.

Related: US, UK scientists grow embryos in lab to 14 days, setting new mark

According to the market research company IDTechEx, the bioprinting industry figures to balloon to roughly $6 billion by 2024, which would represent a stark increase over its $481 million market in 2014. Though it’s certainly not the only bioprinting entity in the mix, Nano’s work shows that IDTechEx’s estimation of the growing market isn’t all that far-fetched.

“By combining our high-speed, high-precision inkjet capabilities with Accellta’s stem cell suspension technologies and induced differentiation capabilities led by a world-renowned group of experienced engineers and scientists, we can enable 3D printing at high resolution and high volumes,” Dror added.

A considerable amount of research lay ahead for both Nano Dimension and Accellta, but if all goes according to plan, the partnerships’ work could go a long way in the advancement of drug testing, tissue printing, and cosmetics safety testing, among other areas.